With a classy come-from-behind performance in Saturday’s $100,000 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa, Karaka graduate Belle du Nord (NZ) (Reliable Man) claimed a valuable Group 2 win to sit alongside her multiple big-race placings.
A $50,000 yearling purchase at Karaka in 2016, Belle du Nord won on debut as a two-year-old and has subsequently placed in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) and the Group 3 Auraria Stakes (1800m) in Adelaide.
But Saturday was Belle du Nord’s day in the sun. After dropping out to the rear of the classy eight-horse field in the Te Rapa fillies and mares’ feature, jockey Vinnie Colgan angled the four-year-old to the outside to make her run.
Contenders lined up across the track in an exciting finish, but Belle du Nord’s potent finishing burst carried her to a half-length victory over the defending champion Lizzie L’Amour (NZ) (Zabeel).
Raced by the Northern Club Racing Syndicate No. 12 (managed by Sir David Williams KNZM, QC), Belle du Nord has now earned $194,224 in prizemoney – more than 3.8 times her purchase price.
“I’m rapt for the owners,” said Emma-Lee Browne, who trains in partnership with her husband David. “We had to wait a little while to get her second win, but she’s kept stepping up in big races and she’s performed in Australia. This is a great result and she’s a really valuable broodmare now.”
Belle du Nord’s dam Bankside Belle has had two foals to race, both of them black-type performers. Fellow Karaka graduate What Choux Want (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) won twice and placed in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes and Listed Welcome Stakes.
Curraghmore will offer a Jimmy Choux half-brother to Belle du Nord at Karaka 2019, going through the ring as Lot 1019 in Book 2.
Vendor Bradbury Park
Purchaser Michael Otto Bloodstock (Auckland)
Breeding Reliable Man – Bankside Belle
Sale Lot 302, 2016 Nation Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale, $50,000
Bred by Nearco Stud Limited
In other news making her first start in a New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series race, Queen of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel) lived up to her blue-blooded pedigree with a dominant performance in Saturday’s $70,000 Group 3 LawnMaster Eulogy Stakes (1550m) at Awapuni.
The filly was bred by former Cambridge Stud owners Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan and descends from their acclaimed Eight Carat-Diamond Lover-Tristalove line.
Bought at Karaka for $640,000 as a yearling in 2017, Queen of Diamonds won a Te Rapa maiden by four and three-quarter lengths late last month. On Saturday she stepped up to stakes class and handled it with ease.
After settling in third place for rider Lisa Allpress, Queen of Diamonds quickened brilliantly in the straight and roared past the front-running Rocket Fuel (Smart Missile) to win by two and three-quarter lengths.
Elate (NZ) (Savabeel) produced a strong finish to claim second in a Savabeel quinella, while Just Fabulous (NZ) (O’Reilly) got up for third.
“A serious, serious filly,” Queen of Diamonds’ owners China Horse Club tweeted. “On her way to the top.”
Trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Queen of Diamonds has had four starts for two wins, a placing and $49,175 in stakes.
Cambridge Stud will offer a Tavistock half-brother to Queen of Diamonds as Lot 177 in Book 1 of Karaka 2019.
Queen of Diamonds picked up 6 Filly of the Year Series points for Saturday’s victory, moving her into equal fourth position alongside Avantage (Fastnet Rock). Elate and Just Fabulous also joined the points table with 3 and 1.5 points respectively.
Queen Of Diamonds is the second major age-group success this season for the combination of the Baker-Forsman table, the China Horse Club and a graduate of the Karaka sale ring. Their $36,000 Select Sale purchase Madison County (NZ) (Pins) won last month’s Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas.
The New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series will continue on Boxing Day with the $100,000 Group 2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie.
Vendor Cambridge Stud
Purchaser China Horse Club (China)
Breeding Savabeel – Love Diamonds
Sale Lot 260, 2017 Premier Sale, $640,000
Bred by Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan
The Karaka sale ring and Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman were the key ingredients for the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry’s biggest success story to date, and on Saturday at Te Rapa they combined for another big-race win.
Rider Horse’s red and white colours became famous on both sides of the Tasman through the deeds of the $220,000 Ready to Run Sale graduate Mongolian Khan (Holy Roman Emperor), who won the Group 1 New Zealand Derby, Australian Derby and Caulfield Cup and was a two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year.
On Saturday it happened again with the $220,000 Premier Sale purchase Mongolian Marshal (NZ) (High Chaparral), who lived up to his obvious potential with his biggest win to date in the $100,000 Group 3 Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup (2400m).
A last-start placegetter in the Group 3 Counties Cup (2100m), Mongolian Marshal turned the tables on his conqueror Igraine (Galileo) with an outstanding staying performance.
With Matt Cameron in the saddle, the four-year-old crept into striking distance approaching the home turn and wore his rival down in the straight to win by a length and a quarter.
Mongolian Marshal has now had 13 starts for five wins, four placings and $204,625 in prizemoney for Rider Horse and co-owners Hope Bloodstock Ltd.
“He’s quite brilliant over a mile (1600m), so it had us wondering whether he was a true stayer,” Baker said. “Although he did run eighth in the Australian Derby (2400m), where he ran on from well back.
“We’ve got a great liking for these colours, and this horse is another lovely horse – a quality horse.”
Fellow Karaka graduate Five To Midnight (NZ) (Domesday), the defending Waikato Cup champion, finished another long neck away in third place.
Vendor Cambridge Stud
Purchaser Rider Horse NZ (Auckland)
Breeding High Chaparral – Ardeche
Sale Lot 176, 2016 Premier Sale, $220,000
Bred by Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan